Shop Talk: Finishing Energy vs. Starting Energy

Shop Talk: Finishing Energy vs. Starting Energy

video shop talk

Rekka: 00:01 Welcome back. Today I want to talk about Finishing Energy versus Starting Energy in the sense that they are two energies out of myriad energies. But I have heard people talk about Finishing Energy before as though there's Finishing Energy and then there's Everything Else. I don't hold to that, but I am going to focus on shifting from that to the polar opposite, which is Starting Energy. If you followed along at all. You know that I have been working on the second book in my Peridot Shift trilogy, and that book recently, hopefully, was completed and handed into Parvus for entry into the production process. It still need its copy edits, but I hope we are done making story revisions and editorial changes. So, I wrote Salvage two years and four months ago. I drafted it entirely, from a tight outline, but it was drafted in 25 days during NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, of 2016. In 25 days, I wrote 88,000 words.

Rekka: 01:16 So, I actually have a theory that Salvage was never anything but Finishing Energy. I planned to finish it in the month of November, which took the, "Oh, let's sit down and draft and right through the story" process and really condensed it to the point where I knew exactly when I wanted to be done, and I had a checklist of things that I needed to do to get there. And for me, Finishing Energy can best be expressed in to-do lists and checklists. And so when I had an exact word count, I had to hit every day, and I had an outline, which effectively became a checklist of scenes that I had to write. Writing 88,000 words was not Starting Energy, it was "follow the checklist and get it done" energy, which is Finishing Energy. So I don't know that Salvage was ever really in a creation process phase other than the fact that I had to create it from a blank page.

Rekka: 02:20 But my mindset on the book was probably always in: get the book done. And I don't know if that's the pressure of knowing that it was the second book in at least a trilogy because at the time, when I wrote it, I was not on the track of saying this is a trilogy of books. I was on a track of: this is a series of books. And so having Flotsam, I was looking for another adventure, like Flotsam that could pick up where Flotsam left off and then move the story along. And how far the story would go was going to depend on how much my readers, you know, were engaged through a certain number of books. Ironically, I wrote cliffhangers, so it would always probably end up being one more book to wrap it up than my readers seem to be picking up. This was my plan when it was going to be self-published.

Rekka: 03:17 So 2017, I had already reread the draft one time. I put it down for most of December, and then picked it up again and reread it. And then I worked with my contracted editor to revise it. In the process of working on this revision, I was also tightening up, finishing up, Flotsam and then ended up submitting Flotsam to Parvus Press in February of 2017. At the same time, I was revising Salvage, along with my editors. So, when Flotsam was submitted to Parvus-- I'm just trying to think of all the details exactly. It probably doesn't matter as much, but you know, in your mind you're trying to get the history correct. I signed with Parvus for a three book deal in April of 2017, and was able to give them a revised, probably doubly revised draft of Salvage, December 29th of 2017.

Rekka: 04:28 So I handed into books and one year to Parvus, and then, in 2018, we finished up Flotsam and there were enough details changing, and I sort of felt the idea that the story was going to shift enough that I wanted to wait until Salvage was done before I started book three. And in 2018, Parvus decided to proceed with a long-term goal they had of entering into a contract with distribution. Which meant that they were no longer printing on demand, they were now going to print and warehouse books, and that would be going through distribution. So, they had a whole process of contracts and everything like that, but put their catalog on hold. So, we knew that Salvage was not going to come out in March of 2019 as we had originally thought. In fact, we thought it was going to come out in January, but then we knew pretty, pretty late in the summer, I guess, of last year that it was going to be pushed back because of the distribution.

Rekka: 05:34 Distribution needed time to do what they do. That is the whole reason that you go with distribution in the first place. So they didn't want a month to prep and release Salvage. So, Salvage came back with edits from my editor at Parvus, who changed in I'd say late 2018. It was August. So the process of working on Salvage, for me, felt like it was way behind schedule. Because of that, there's been this pressure to work on it and this pressure to get it done, which means a to-do list. And add to that, I had editorial revision requests from an editor and then later from a publisher. And so 2018 I rewrote the first 40%, basically, in October and November, and then I revise that again in December. And then in 2019, in February, I revised a couple more scenes, and then in April I rewrote not completely from scratch but quite a bit.

Rekka: 06:50 So Salvage has been a process of "Can I get this done, can I get this done, can I get this done? So the book can be done." And here we are the end of April 2019 and I'm waiting, hopefully, to hear that the book is done and we are moving ahead with the production process. It is coming out in September, so we really need to be done. So, again, that's been my mindset. Really need to be done, really need to be done. I really need to be done with Salvage, so I can write book three, Cast Off, without feeling like the whole ground of backstory and details might shift, and then it might be more work to revise a Cast Off later on. Luckily the last couple of rounds of revisions on Salvage have not dramatically shifted the details of the plots for Cast Off.

Rekka: 07:44 And that's good because I am about 30,000 words into Cast Off. So I don't want to rewrite those and I have an outline and the outline doesn't have to dramatically shift because of anything we changed in Salvage. I'm sure there will be revisions and such later on to Cast Off, but the groundwork is solid, I think, so far. But yeah, so for two years, probably six months, I know it's four months since I started drafting Salvage, but I imagine I put in the work to outline and prepare for it for another two months before that. Getting ready for, you know, finishing up Flotsam and getting ready for NaNoWriMo of that same year. 'Cause 2016, September-- I want to say the first week of September is when I got word back from my editor that he felt the book was done and Flotsam was done.

Rekka: 08:42 So then I shifted immediately into working on Salvage, getting it ready, so that I could draft it because I really had a rapid release plan for these books. So this makes me realize, for two and a half years, I have been in a heavy finishing mode. Other other content I've created has been Patreon content, which was small and episodic. So that I also was trying to finish that according to a schedule. I was working on essays for blog tours to promote Flotsam and because it was promotion, we knew when Flotsam was coming out, there were deadlines. They were checklists. It was, I'm realizing, a very long spiral of Finishing Energy.

Rekka: 09:29 Here I am now facing down not having a book in production at this point. I'm not waiting on someone else to get back to me with revision comments or anything like that and it's very, very strange. I have pieces that have already been started that they're in the work somewhere, but as for my next priorities, it's drafting, and kind of open ended drafting as well. I have a schedule that I'd like to keep, but there's not, there's not a sense of when I expect to be done with anything. Sort of. I'll get to that in a second. So, I'm working on a new story, and when I say it's new, I mean the Scrivener document that would contain the manuscript was blank, but I did, at the beginning of 2018, outline it. And, apparently, I wrote a synopsis because when I went to open it to see what my thin outline looked like, it was a very thick outline and it was effectively a synopsis, which I then broke down into a more bullet-pointed outline and then converted those to the scenes that I would need to write.

Rekka: 10:39 I did the process of murder boarding, which I did for Cast Off as well. Episode 70 of Hybrid Author Podcast talks about murderboarding. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, I recommend that episode because I think it will give you a lot of inspiration for starting an outline, or revising a book. So, now I'm working on a new story, and I have an outline, I have a synopsis, but all the draft work is ahead of me, and it's a very strange feeling. When I was working on Salvage during NaNoWriMo of 2016 I had 3-, 4-, and 6,000 word days. And, having rewritten a lot of those scenes, I wonder how much value those high word count days had. Now, finishing Salvage in that short period of time gave me a lot of confidence, but it also really raised the bar on what I expected for myself in terms of output. And yes, I know that that was a breakneck speed, and probably not something that I could maintain throughout the year. Obviously, clearly something I cannot maintain throughout the year.

Rekka: 11:52 But it's been the bar that I set for myself, and now I am working on a new story, which is shorter. Significantly shorter. My goal for this draft is 38,000 words and I have been working on one scene for four days, four days to get to 3,000 words. Now, of course, the scene is running long, but I have been working on this scene for four days and I have not even kept all the words that I wrote because I was sort of following behind myself like Alice in Wonderland, Disney's movie where there's the broom-creature that's following around behind her and cleaning up her footprints? So, I was sort of doing that. I was writing and I went, "Oh, that's all backstory." And I'd take it and put it in folder so that I wasn't crushing my soul by deleting the words, but I was moving them out and saying, "These aren't the words that belong here." And I did that twice as I was drafting the first scene. So, the first scene would have been like 5,000 words by now.

Rekka: 12:55 And I'm not done. Like, I don't know what pace I need to set. I don't know when I can check something off. All I can do is sit down and every day and work on it, and check off that I showed up and worked on it. And it's not, it's not wrong, it's not bad. Obviously. Showing up and doing the work is how things get done. And I vaguely remember that this is how Flotsam worked. I just worked on it until it was done. I didn't have a goal. I just knew I wanted to write a book and then write another book and then release the first book. And that's what I did. So even though I didn't self-publish them, like I thought I would, and I didn't continue my process on from there quite at the pace that I thought I would. I still did everything I said I was setting out to do

Rekka: 13:48 Here I am, and I do have a date in mind to publish this story. It's based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, so I want to release it for October, which is perfect because if Salvage comes out in September, then the events of this story, which is a side story in the same world, will follow the events of Salvage. So people who pick up Salvage can then pick up this story and it's not going to spoil anything. Whereas if I released it before Salvage, I would have to say, "Okay, but don't read it yet," which is like not, it's not a great marketing plan. "Please buy my book but don't read it." So Salvage comes out in September, this would come out end of October. People that have finished Salvage, here's a little bit more of the story. Here's a little continuation of what-- how else the events in Salvage have affected the rest of the world and the characters there that you barely know or don't know at all.

Rekka: 14:45 And yeah, there's a through-line character, actually there's fourth through-line character so far. And so I have an end date in mind, but for producing it, first I need a draft and I, for whatever reason, have been really good about not telling myself: "All right, finish this draft by this day." I have set an end date in mind in Scrivener because you can set a target project, and I have suggested to Scrivener, actually, that they change things, that they have a mode where if you do not have a due date for your project, that they just tell you: "At the pace you're working and your word goal, here's when you're going to finish." Because NaNoWriMo has this, even though they have a deadline, like, it's already set. When you enter your project and set it up in NaNoWriMo, they know that it's going to be done on the 30th or 31st of whatever month you're doing, whether it's in November or one of the Camp months.

Rekka: 15:49 So they even tell you like, are you at quota, but also at your current pace. Here's when you'll finish. And I would love that in Scrivener because I don't want, necessarily, to set a deadline for a new project, but I do want to know how I'm doing in terms of progressing toward my goal. So, I am working on a Scrivener project that has a target due date of May. I think I put it as May 31st. So that's a lot of time to write 38,000 words because I know I'm traveling, I have other stuff that's going on. At some point, I'm going to get copy edits back from Salvage. So I'm not trying to push myself to finish this draft in record time. And I'm sitting down every day, and I am working on it and I'm kind of moving at a slower pace than I expected myself.

Rekka: 16:41 As I mentioned, I, I hit some really absurd word counts on my 2016 draft of Salvage, and I'm trying not to expect that of myself. Even though, really, because I don't commute anymore to work because I don't have to take specifically an hour lunch and drive somewhere else to write at lunch. I could, in theory, be hitting word count goals like never before, but that splits my focus. It drains my energy. And so I've been very careful and I don't know how. I wish I had a tip for you, but I guess just being aware, being self-aware and knowing what you put yourself through. I have been very careful not to set these expectations that I'm going to have 6,000 word days. Even though yesterday I had a three and a half hour write-in, technically, at an aquarium. And I could have said to myself, "Well, in a good hour you can write 2000 words, so three and a half hours, you should be able to walk out of here with 7,000 words." Well, I didn't. I wrote like 1,200 words, but I had concentrated time, and I did have a slight expectation and I haven't even finished the first scene of this thing. And it's just a matter of like accepting that and moving on, as best I can, every day. Working on it a little at a time.

Rekka: 18:27 And it took me, I'm realizing like, okay, maybe I am finally reaching this point of Starting Energy again. But it took me a long time. It's April 27th, as I record this and I finished Salvage on April 15th. Like, that was the day that I handed in a draft to Parvus, and I was in such finishing mode after that, that I couldn't draft during my writing time any longer. It took me the rest of that week to really adjust to this concept that Salvage was a manuscript that I should not be touching. I did find a couple more things I wanted to change. Little edits. I wrote them down. I have a document listing everything I want to change, when it comes back from Parvus with copy edits. 'Cause I don't want to like confuse people as to which draft is the current draft or anything like that.

Rekka: 19:20 So, for the rest of that week of the 15th, I was working on chapter art, the glossary, all the bonus material that goes at the end. I have a-- there's a sky shanty in Salvage, and so I put the lyrics of the sky shanty in the back of Salvage. Acknowledgements about the author and my updated bio, the dedication, things like that. And that was feeding this Finishing Energy appetite that I had of wanting to be able to check stuff off. It was not a rush. Parvus wasn't in a hurry to get these things from me, but I got them to them, two or three days later because I had to. The glossary, all the written stuff, I got to them on the Wednesday of that week. Monday was the day I handed in the manuscript, and then by Saturday I was-- or Sunday, I don't remember, exactly -- of this past week. I was mailing them all of the artwork, the chapter art, and a new map. And I'd done it because it was measurable tasks that I could check off and I was still still stuck in this Finishing Energy zone, whatever you want to call it. And then I had to be kind to myself. So I scheduled this entire past week just for working on the outline of this new project. The project name is “Bad Apple”, that's probably not going to be the title when I'm done.

Rekka: 20:54 I sat down on Monday and I opened up-- I had my cork-board ready. I was going to go through the process of murderboarding, which I've mentioned. Episode 70 of Hybrid Author Podcast. I was going to go through this process of murderboarding to build out what I thought was a four step outline. I thought I had the broader steps of the act, but not the individual steps of the outline. Then I open the document, and lo and behold, I'd already done the whole thing. The outline was in more of a synopsis form, like a paragraph was a scene, as opposed to a bullet point. So I went through it and I'm like,"All right, well I can keep working on the track that I started, not let this throw me off." And I opened it up and took my little quarter-pieces of index card and I wrote down broadly what happened in each scene, pinned it to my board.

Rekka: 21:48 I had my board separated into four columns for each of the quarter, the 25% Acts. And then I evaluated it, and I looked at it and I'm like, all right, it's really light in this act, and it's really dense over in this act. How do I shift this? You know, where do I see myself making the twist that ends the act? Because that's effectively how I work. I work up to a point where it's like, "Ooh, clinch point," and then begin the next act. Even if it's, as far as the story goes, it's flowing through. It's really like, that's the point where the act changes. So I ended up with nineteen scenes. The first act is four scenes, and then each following act is five scenes. And so I figured that's about 38,000 words. So I stopped at that point. I mean, I went into Scrivener and I added the documents that each scene would live in, and the quick little note that was on the note card, and then the longer note that was in the outline that was there when I woke up, and then I was ready to go.

Rekka: 22:55 But it's Monday and I had dedicated-- I had scheduled this entire week for working on the outline. So now just, like, my Finishing Energy is fed again because I did the thing that I was really going to let myself just like enjoy the process of, and I had already enjoyed the process of it, apparently, in January of 2018 when I worked on that outline last. So, whoops. So I'm still shifting into this Starting Energy. So, the next day, I started drafting it, and I sat down and just started writing and I allowed myself a little bit of that editing mindset as I described, where I wrote, and then looked back at the words I'd written and said, "Yeah, this isn't how I start this." And I put them in another document, and then kept writing looked back: "Yeah. That isn't the right place to start that either. Okay." Take all that chunk, put it in.

Rekka: 23:49 So now I have what I hope is a balanced exposition to action opening. I mean, I know that the first scene will always be rewritten once you've written the whole thing, and you have a better sense of the tone of the draft. But I'm hoping that the first story sets the tone for me. And I realized yesterday that I was not writing it with the tone that I wanted it to eventually have. So obviously, first chapter is getting rewritten again. But whether I'm going to try to edit it now and then continue forward from there, or whether to just shift, and have a very obvious shift in tone that I'm going to have to correct later, I don't know. But I am working without a strict deadline. I have a goal of getting it out into the world, so I could work backward from there if I was really interested in the math. And when I'm drafting and I want to procrastinate, I mean that is very tempting, that I could work backward from there and say, "All right, so the pre-order period for Amazon is this long. So I want to make sure that I have my editors already in the process, at the beginning of that point." And then, that means I have to schedule them. That means I have to reserve their spot and then, if I do that, then I can have a deadline for when I need the draft done.

Rekka: 25:10 But I'm trying really hard to resist that, and even to resist the notion that it's wrong or bad if this doesn't come out in October of this year. I mean, it could come out next year. You know, it could come out in the winter. Winter is a creepy time. It's dark and cold and you don't necessarily feel as safe as you might in spring and summer. Of course I'm speaking from the Northern Hemisphere. But I am trying so hard to switch tracks between Finishing Energy and Starting Energy and it can feel a lot-- If I had finished Salvage, and immediately the next day attempted to sit down and begin drafting. Like if I knew that my outline was done, I probably would have attempted to go from Salvage to drafting “Bad Apple” and it would have been like picking up an entire commuter train off one track and putting it on another track. Instead of properly maneuvering it around that track-switch area.

Rekka: 26:10 And then switching the track, pulling that lever, and then slowly chugging it backwards, slowly chugging it forward to get onto the proper track that it's on. And you can't make that smooth transition, the efficient transition, if you're barreling along at full speed because you've been barreling along at full speed. You have to put the brakes on, you have to cut yourself some slack. And when I say you, I mean I have to cut myself some slack. And so, but that, that's my advice for today and that's what I want to talk about is we build up momentum.

Rekka: 26:44 And, in this industry, there's so much emphasis on word count and even the amount of books that a person can produce. And sometimes you see a person releasing maybe three books in one year, but that doesn't mean they wrote them all like bang, bang, bang. Some of them do. But I would say that for most of them, it's just a matter of coincidence that this book was worked on while they were submitting the other book, and then the other book came back, and then they had this draft and then these things started to move along and ended up synchronized in pace. Whereas, you know, they probably were written months and months apart. And then, suddenly, it's only a few months between the releases in one year with different output markets, stuff like that, and then Tor or Penguin, whatever. It feels like other people are doing so much, but you don't, you don't see the little duck legs. I'm switching my metaphors. You know, you don't have a sense of the duck legs moving under the surface. It just looks placid. Like everything's going along really well for them.

Rekka: 27:48 And you think to yourself, "Why can't I do that?" And so-- I'm really tempted to start this over because I really feel like I've rambled. But I think, you know, the personal aspect of this is the way that I describe why it's so important to give yourself that understanding and the patience with yourself to know that everyone's going through this process. It's not easy for anyone. It's not lacking those moments of self doubt that you're going through or that I'm going through. And you have to slow down your train so that you can transition from one project to the next. And one, you have to recuperate that energy that you've been using because it's all an energy cost. It's all focus, discipline, energy, health, stress, all this stuff. It's all building up as you work through the end of one project and if you don't take the time to slow down and properly transition from one thing to the next, you could go off the tracks.

Rekka: 28:57 You could pick up your train and move directly to the other track, but who knows, if you put down all your wheels correctly? You're not going to suddenly tip over and, even if you did that, you'd have to come to a complete stop. You know, I'm working this metaphor. I really am. You'd have to come to a complete stop so that you could lift that train carefully from one track to the other. You cannot transition that. You can't jump from one track to the other. This is not a videogame. You can't do that safely. It's going to take up too much energy. It's going to cause too much stress. And, honestly, how good is your work going to be if you don't take the time to breathe between projects. Enjoy the fact that you've, I mean like this is so important. Let me start that over. Enjoy the fact that you finished something. Give yourself the credit and the space to celebrate that before you take a deep breath and dive back into a new metaphor. And become that duck.

Rekka: 29:59 I'm losing my metaphor string here, but you get what I'm saying. I hope. That when you go from this like, "Okay, I've got five things to do, and then this is done!" to "What is this new world I'm creating?" Because even, you know, I'm working on a new project in the same world. I have all the worldbuilding to draw from, but it's still a new world. It's new characters and new city, a new set of circumstances and relationships. And it's all gotta be established again. And someone might read this first. So it's a whole new book and it's got to draw the person into the world effectively. And the worldbuilding's gotta be just as strong if not stronger this time. And so I need to give myself the chance to start, plan, pace myself, and be gentle. And so that's what I'm trying to say is when you go from Finishing Energy to Starting Energy, understand that you can't go full steam ahead from one to the other without there being a consequence. And that consequence might be your focus. That consequence might be the quality of the output. A consequence might be health issues, if you are working yourself too hard and suddenly you come down with something because you've taxed your system to the point where now your immune system can't do its job.

Rekka: 31:24 So make shifting from finishing speed back to celebration speed, and ease into the new project and find the joy in the project. Don't make this about the deadlines. Don't make this about, "I wanted to do two books this year," and push yourself to do the next book without getting to revel in that creation, in that excitement, over the next story, in that exploration of the characters. Don't make it about "Yes, I've done this once. Now let me repeat that."

Rekka: 32:00 Every book is a new experience, and give yourself the chance to back off. Make sure you're feeling that inspiration and that you're feeling that creation energy and take a day, you know. At least a day. Go do something unrelated to writing. Yes, I went to an aquarium, but that was a write-in, so that doesn't count. But go to the aquarium, and don't bring your laptop. Just walk around and read stuff. You're gonna-- there's all the placards next to the tanks and the displays and they tell you little interesting things, and those might spark something. Go to a natural history museum, go to a technology museum, go to, if you're near a space port, go to Kennedy Center or Houston, and go experience something. Not with the intent that you're collecting data for your next story, but just to break-- just to jar yourself out of that Finishing Energy, and put yourself back in an observation and joy-sparking kind of mode. So I've been going on longer than I intended to with this video, but I hope you get what I'm saying. Actually no, 33 minutes. I'm exactly where I wanted to be wrapping this up.

Rekka: 33:19 We, as artists, tend to forget that we're artists and we tend to forget that we came to this because we have a joy in writing. And I really want to encourage you not to go from one project to the next as though you are making cogs or widgets. You are creating worlds, and if you don't have the joy in this process, your readers aren't going to feel the joy in the writing. So be kind to yourself so that you can have fun, so that you readers can have fun. And I'm not saying this like you owe your readers a good book. I'm just saying, the reason we do this was not a book count at the end of the year, a productions calendar that rivals that of Stephen King or, you know, Michael Anderly and their whole thing.

Rekka: 34:12 They end up with a team of people to create the books at the speed that they do. They have other people writing in their worlds or collaborating with them in ways. I don't, I don't speak for Stephen King. He's an anomaly. He's definitely an outlier, people. But don't compare yourself to other people who are producing a ton because chances are they're doing it the way you are, and there's a reason. You have to do the process that works for you, so that you can still enjoy the process for the reason that you came to it, which was the joy of discovery, the joy of writing, the joy of creating these worlds and then getting to share them with people.

Rekka: 34:59 Find your joy. I mean, you know, if you find yourself, and you're in the Finishing mode, and you don't have your joy, take a day and go find your joy. Because this is a marathon. It's not a race. And you can always come back and write another book when you've recuperated. But if you, if you crash hard, if your train goes off the tracks. There's my metaphor again. If you, if your train, spins off the tracks, it takes a lot more effort to get it all back on the tracks. There's repair that needs to be done. There's a mess that needs to be cleaned up. There's insurance company. I mean, okay, my metaphor's gone off the rails, you're welcome. Versus just slowing down to properly take that turn or properly switch tracks or properly change directions. And you wouldn't want your train conductor, if you were a passenger on the train, to go barreling full speed for a track change or when they're supposed to stop at a station or change direction or when the track ends and you have to build new track.

Rekka: 36:11 I mean, how far can I take this metaphor? I'm really leaning into it. Take the time to do the process in a way that is safe and gentle for you. And I think you will retain more of your curiosity and joy and inspiration for the next book. And if you don't feel it, take a break and go do something else, and put a line between finishing and starting. Build and pad it with the things that make you feel inspired, so that when you are starting a new project and you have a new story and world to explore, you can feel that inspiration and joy when the dopamine hit of checking something off a to-do list is no longer available to you. A word count is one thing, but those words are going to change a lot as part of the revision and editing process. So they don't, sometimes, feel like enough to carry you through when you've been through the process of producing a book. Once you realize how fragile the original draft is and how quickly we break it apart and rebuild it. So that drafting sometimes doesn't feel like you're getting anywhere because you know that these words are going to change. So what's the point? Well, of course, you have to write the words before you can revise the words and then edit the words. But the point in a draft is to explore and enjoy and fall in love with your own book.

Rekka: 37:42 And then, when you've done the drafts, and you feel yes, you will feel spent, you will feel deflated at the end of the draft, and you'll be just as exhausted at the end of the draft as you were at the end of the book production process. But then you can move forward from there into the next draft or the next step in the process. But if you don't give yourself a chance to restore your energy at each phase, you are eventually going to go off the rails at some point. All right, so that's, that's enough of that metaphor. I think you get what I'm trying to say. I'm saying this in the first person perspective, or trying to, because that's where I am right now. I'm at this spot where I really want to make a lot of headway on this draft because I know I am capable of producing a lot of words per hour, but that's not happening and I have to understand that I'm not in the place that I was when I drafted the last thing I drafted and I never will be again. I cannot recreate those exact conditions.

Rekka: 38:57 So I need to be gentle with myself, and I need to slow down so that I can make that mental shift from finishing up the last thing and worrying about whether it's going to be on time and worrying about deadlines, to this new thing that nobody is looking for. Nobody's asking me about it. It's just me by myself drafting it, and I've already put it off a whole bunch because there was no pressure to finish it. And that is a point of frustration already. But I have, I want to say, I have succeeded at pulling myself back and understanding that there is that requirement of time to be able to go from one thing to the other and the requirement to be able to be aware of where I am in the process. Be mindful of what I need to do to shift from "dopamine to-do list checks and boxes" to "I'm just going to write a thing and it's going to be a mess and it's going to be something different and I'm going to enjoy it, or I'm going to hate it and I would rather enjoy it."

Rekka: 40:06 So I'm going to take the time to shift from one mode to the other. And that can be part of the process. You know, you can write that down, but you can't define when it's done. You can only be mindful and recognize, "All right, I think I'm ready to draft this." So that, that is this month's shop talk and Hybrid Author Podcast episode. If you are watching this on YouTube as a shop talk, please check out, and you can subscribe to it on iTunes. And that way you can take this on the car and go somewhere and do something and listen to my, hopefully helpful, advice. And if you are listening to, and you want to see the strange facial expressions I make as I talked through this, then please go to and follow the links to my YouTube channel.

Rekka: 41:00 I do not have enough followers to give you a nice clean link, like YouTube/RJTheodore. Actually, can I? I don't think I can. So yes, I am just checking that. Nope. Yup. Doesn't work. Okay. So, go to if you are a Hybrid Author Podcast listener, and I did mention that I have, two new podcasts to announce yes. I'm backing off on Hybrid Author Podcast, and that's just because the format of the show changed to be a solo show and I'm not sure that I have the content to do a weekly-- Okay, I have the content if I'm just doing weekly updates of where my process is, but I do those daily on YouTube, and I Tweet about it, and I'm sure I'll be talking about it in other ways. You can subscribe to my newsletter if you want the regular updates and where I am in my process.

Rekka: 42:00 And I didn't want to do that for another show in a longer format. So I'm backing off and repurposing the shop talk videos that I already had on my to-do list. Check, check, check. Now they do double duty, and they are the content and I plan them a little bit better than my rambling. Okay. Confession. Today. I did have notes. I went outside the notes, or I dove very deep into the notes, rather. Especially on my process and what I'm personally doing. But I feel like my anecdote is going to make this metaphor stronger and not just sound like this nice, neat advice that, "Isn't it so easy to follow?" Because you can see me struggling to follow it myself. So Hybrid Author Podcast is now a monthly podcast, and I will be recording episodes at the end of every month, which will also be on my YouTube channel.

Rekka: 42:52 So it's up to you whether you want to follow it as a video and subscribe there or continue to subscribe at Hybrid Author Podcast. And I am adding two podcasts to my life. One will be weekly, and that one is called Nice Articulation, and you can find that at, and that is my husband and I sitting down to open action figures and talk about them. And so it's a casual conversation. It's us relating to the toys on a personal level in the way that, you know, how we know of the character that the toy depicts. Does it remind us of anything, have there been other figures of this character and how does this compare? A lot of these toy companies now have sort of like a signature that they do where certain companies have certain kinds of action figure posing joints. I'm trying to talk to to people who may not be all that familiar with action figures, and other companies are more focused on their sculpts or releasing lots and lots of figures and stuff like that. Getting really big licenses for like video games and movie characters.

Rekka: 43:59 So my husband and I sit down, and on Nice Articulation, we just kinda, we open a figure that's arrived or that we've picked up somewhere. It's kind of harder these days, without Toys R Us, to pick toys up in person, and then we open them and we talk about it. And we just have a nice conversation and you can sort of get our personalities as we relate to each other, and to toys and we've been together for over twenty years. So it's also like there's those hints of backstory of how we've kind of changed the way we collect toys over the two decades that we've been together.

Rekka: 44:34 All right. And so then, back to the writing side of things, I do have a new writing podcast that is starting on May 14th. There's a preview episode up now because you need a preview episode up to get your feed added to iTunes. It's called, We Make Books, and this is going to be myself and, Kaelyn Considine, who was recently on Hybrid Author Podcast as a guest. She is now going to be a co-host and she is a publisher professional and I am an author, and we're going to have conversations that I don't think you get privy to a lot. So if you're just starting out and you have a lot of curiosity about moving a book through the drafting, moving a book through editing, moving a book through submissions and queries and all that kind of stuff. These are the kinds of things we're going to talk about. And so that starts May 14th, but you can find that now at, We Make Books,, or

Rekka: 45:38 You can see why I went with the shorter one. And both of those have Twitter accounts and Instagram accounts if you want to find them on social media. So those are replacing the recordings that I have weekly been doing for Hybrid Author Podcast. And the neat thing about them is that both podcasts are-- the episodes are recorded in-person with each other. And so we're still setting up the audio, to get it ideal. Right now, the microphones I have are condensing to one channel before I import them into the computer, and I'm trying to figure out how to get them on separate channels like I've been used to. So that like if somebody coughs, you can just remove the cough and you don't lose the words that the other person was saying at the time. So that's in process.

Rekka: 46:26 But, the episodes we've recorded so far have been pretty clean. I've been happy about that. So go check out Nice Articulation and please check out, also, We Make Books and hopefully by the time this airs on April 30th, both of those can be found on iTunes. I'm having some issues getting them on iTunes, but you can definitely find them at those domain names. And if they don't show up on iTunes, you can subscribe to them there. There is a way to manually add a feed URL to iTunes, so that you can follow it without having to worry about whether it's actually listed on iTunes. Though I hope it's listed on iTunes because of course it's better to have direct subscribers through iTunes for the success of the podcast. So yes, I went on a bit about that stuff, but those are the big plans that I said I would announce last week.

Rekka: 47:14 There they are. I followed through on that. So I will, as Hybrid Author Podcast, I will talk to you in a month. If you are a YouTube subscriber, I will talk to you tomorrow, and if you subscribe to those other podcasts, you will hear the first episodes of Nice Articulation will be live May 1st and We Make Books will be live May 14th. We Make Books is twice a month and Nice Articulation is weekly. And yeah, go subscribe to them. If you can find them on iTunes. And hopefully by now you can, and there are a preview episodes up for both, as I said, because I needed them to create the feeds that would validate for iTunes.

Rekka: 47:54 So thank you for joining me in this conversation, finishing then starting. I'm sure you can relate. Maybe you didn't know how to put it into words. Maybe you listened to me and you said, "I would describe that differently," and, in which case, please give me feedback, give me your metaphor for finishing and then switching to starting and what's your metaphor that I can steal and lean into next time? All right. Thanks everyone for joining me. Thank you for supporters of both myself at and supporters of Hybrid Author Podcast at (I think it's all three words. It might just be Hybrid Author, but I think it's Hybrid Author Podcast. I really should check these things before I say them.) So transcripts will be below, and I will talk to you, as I said, on that schedule, depending on which way are you are consuming my content, and take care everyone. I'll see you around. We'll talk on Twitter and I hope you had a lovely April and you're looking forward to these summer months that are racing up to us. Please be kind to yourself. Enjoy your process. If you don't love the writing, there's little point in continuing. So, if you feel like you don't have your joy, take a break and find your joy. It's there. It's just waiting for you to be a little bit mindful and to find it again. I promise. Take care everyone. Bye. Bye.